A campaign to save a club for disabled youngsters has been supported by thousands of people across Britain and beyond after winning the backing of the National Union of Students (NUS).

Courtney Giles, from Epsom, a second-year student at Warwick University, beat hundreds of others entries to win the I Am The Change Programme - an initiative run by the NUS which asked students to submit ideas for a change they would like to see happen.

The idea submitted by the 19-year-old was to Save Epsom Phab - a campaign to prevent the closure of the charity for disabled and able-bodied children, currently based in the Linton’s Youth Centre, Epsom. 

Surrey County Council (SCC) is determined to sell its leasehold in the centre, forcing the club to find a new home.

Miss Giles, the daughter of Julia Giles, the club’s leader, has attended the club since she was eight and continues to volunteer there. 

She said the support the campaign has had from the NUS since February helped persuade SCC in July to extend its plans not to sell until December 2013.

At a meeting today, SCC will decide on whether funding will be made available to extend an outside area at Nescot, in Reigate Road, Ewell, which the council has suggested as a new location for Epsom Phab.

Miss Giles said: "After students submitted their proposals for change, people could vote on them online.  My change got 5,000 votes.

"It’s been an absolutely amazing opportunity - it’s helped Phab and more widely it shows you can make a difference even if you think it’s for something small."

She said the NUS had provided guidance, tips and a platform for her to develop the Save Epsom Phab campaign nationally.

She added: "The NUS has visited the club, I’ve given speeches at conferences, had a training session from the NUS on how to run an effective campaign, and the NUS President also wrote a piece on the campaign for the Huffington Post."

Miss Giles said the concept of inclusion which is at the heart of Epsom Phab "is a way of life".

She said: "Phab changes people’s lives.  It’s affected the hobbies I have, my friendship groups, and the career I want to pursue as a drama therapist for disabled children."

NUS president Liam Burns praised Miss Giles’ hard work.

He said: "It’s been really inspiring to see the courage and determination that Courtney and others have applied to this cause, and NUS is proud to support that as a prime example of the positive social contribution that students make to our society."